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Re: four winged Archaeopteryx

On Saturday, September 23, 2006, at 01:06 PM, Richard Cowen wrote:

The rigid furcula makes sustained flight difficult, but it doesn't prevent flight as far as I can imagine. So I concede that one to David Marjanovic. The flexing of the furcula acts to facilitate respiratory pumping, so helps to provide the fuel-burning capacity that powers sustained flight.

I forgot to mention this before, but it is also notable that some fully volant birds have reduced or lost the furcula altogether. As such, respiratory pumping via furcula elastic recoil is presumably not important in all taxa. Several parrots, for example, have little or no furcula left.


--Mike H.